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Drum the bull star Grubinger sets the pace at the Austrian GP

There will be a musical highlight on Sunday before the race starts when the internationally renowned percussionist Martin Grubinger and his band play the Austrian national anthem at Spielberg.

There will be a musical highlight on Sunday before the race starts when the internationally renowned percussionist Martin Grubinger and his band play the Austrian national anthem at Spielberg.

Martin Grubinger: “We make the national anthem a euphoric rock show”

Can you inspire thousands of fans with the Austrian national anthem? Martin Grubinger certainly can! He is one of the world’s best drummers and his instrumental version should really make an impact on the start-finish straight and on the grandstands at the Austrian GP at Spielberg – with speed, strength and a little radicalism. His promise is: “We‘ll live it out to the full!”

We talked to Martin Grubinger about how tradition and Formula 1 can go together and who will win at the Red Bull Ring.

You have reinterpreted the national anthem for the Austrian Grand Prix. What can the fans expect?

An instrumental interpretation of the national anthem that was inspired by Jimi Hendrix and his version of the US anthem. We play in a classic rock band set-up with two electric guitars, a bass guitar, a drum set plus seven drummers. As the FIA has given us 1 minutes and 45 seconds and the Austrian national anthem only lasts for a minute, we have a little room to add something we made ourselves. It will be a rock performance and definitely a completely different interpretation of our anthem.

What does “add something we made ourselves” mean in connection with the national anthem? That sounds bold …

We could play the national anthem very classically as it is a wonderful work and sounds wonderful too. After 18 months there is finally a full house in Formula 1 again though, tens of thousands of fans are celebrating by the track and you will be able to feel a real sigh of relief. We have said to ourselves this is all set up for a rock show! The national anthem should really make an impact on the start-finish straight and in the stands. We‘ll live it out to the full.

You want to always tell a story with your compositions. Can you do that with the Austrian national anthem?

Absolutely. I am convinced that our interpretation says a lot about Austria, Styria and the local region. The tradition is there, it is our Austrian national anthem after all, but at the same time our version has a flavour to it that points to the future. It has speed, power and even something radical. That’s an ideal fit for F1.

You are to play in front of a pretty impressive crowd on Sunday. Are you nervous?

No, on the contrary – we are really looking forward to it. It is a wonderful moment, in which we bring music together with Formula 1 and the racing circuit. We’ve got it to a tee, we’ll play it perfectly. There is no reason to be nervous.

That sounds a bit like you already have a few goosebumps …

Yes, because I’m a total Formula 1 fan. At the dress rehearsal I saw in the pits how everything is tuned to the limit, I‘ve seen the rubber wear off and heard the fans in every stand celebrate … it will be a great experience and definitely a very special moment for me. Our euphoric interpretation of the Austrian national anthem will fit it really well.

Do you have any kind of warm up on Sunday ?

Sure, just like the Formula 1 teams get their cars ready, we get our bodies and instruments ready too. All the drummers are meeting at 12 noon to drum on practice pads to loosen up and get our muscles to the right operating temperature. Then the sound check follows. The whole warm-up procedure can easily take 90 minutes.

You have created a masterpiece for motorsport with Drum the Bull. Can you explain the rhythm of Formula 1 to us?

The rhythm of Formula 1 is easy to explain: it‘s high-speed at the highest possible level with the maximum precision. That is the fascinating space that we in our musical interpretations also have the aim of reaching. An area at the limits to explore and try to control. In order to achieve this top performance and not be a passenger in what you do, you need the right technique and mental strength.

Finally, a question for the Formula 1 fan in you. Who would you want to see win the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring?

Red Bull Racing, of course. My son is a massive Verstappen fan and for him every radio message that Max sends is like divine wisdom. I also have a soft spot for Sergio Pérez because he’s a great fighter. I like both the drivers but if Checo can get a good result, I am a little bit happier.

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